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A Cure for Heartache: from potential to published

April 14, 2019
Mary Jane Grant

The minute she looked at the University of King’s College’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction program, Canadian writer Mary Jane Grant says, “I knew it was for me.”

She’d done corporate and travel writing, but she “also had a raft of unpublished writing — from journals to a draft memoir and a rough outline of a new ‘hybrid’ project that shimmered with potential. At least I thought it did!”

To take that project from potential to published, she decided “the best way was to do it in the context of a learning program. Not only would the discipline of structured deliverables push me through the content, the teaching, mentoring and peer feedback would help me become a better writer.”

It’s all worked out very well. In June, London-based Hodder & Stoughton — a member of the Hachette group of publishers — will publish A Cure for Heartache under its Coronet imprint.

Grant describes A Cure for Heartache as “an inspiring memoir with practical lessons built in.” Readers accompany Grant on “her travels through London and the French countryside as she recovers from heartbreak to find a richer experience of life, love and connection.” Adds Grant: “It’s my hope the reader can use the simple techniques in the book to create a more vivid life and find real joy, one small pleasure at a time.”

She credits her mentors at King’s, who were “so good, and quick to grasp your unique needs.” She worked closely with three of them: one “was a genius at structure, another was extremely sensitive to the authenticity of tone and voice, and the third helped me take the story to a deeper and better place.”

The MFA program, she says, gives grads “the one-two punch they need to break into the publishing world — well-written book in one hand and a road map through the complexities of publishing in the other.”

Although her book is set “primarily in London,” she only decided to settle in the UK more recently. “In the early autumn of 2016, I spent a month in London doing research for a travel article, visiting my son, and enjoying a holiday. During that time, I met Alan — and we never looked back! We married in 2017 and I moved to London later that year.”

With publication day quickly approaching, “I’m feeling a mixture of excitement, curiosity, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say a healthy dose of nerves! Having never been through the process, I’m simply trying to take it one day at a time and enjoy the experience.”

The Daily Mail, one of the UK’s largest newspapers, will publish a feature extract from the book in their Sunday magazine in advance of the publication date. “With any luck, that will help boost sales!”

In the meantime, she has developed a proposal for her next book and given it to her agent, Jane Graham-Maw of GMC. “While it’s out there, I’m hoping to get back to some travel writing. And, we’re returning to Canada for the summer, as always!”